Perspectives of South African Special School Teachers on Special Schools as Resource Centers

Mbulaheni O Maguvhe


Introduction: Inclusive education has gained increased favor as a move towards more democratic regular classrooms, striving to deliver equal education to all who learn in them. Schools should, as much as possible, be able to teach a diversity of students in the same classroom. The key factor for instance buy-in is that, out of the estimated 505 867 people with visual impairments in South Africa, many children with visual impairments would be absorbed in schools nearest to their home environments. The study gathered perceptions of teachers in schools for the blind on the envisaged role of special schools as resource centers that should help capacitate full-service schools. Methods: A qualitative research design study was carried out with eight interviewees (four males and four females): all teachers serving in six schools for the blind in three provinces (Limpopo, Free State and Mpumalanga). Results: Teachers need more ongoing training. There is a need for more resources to be allocated to special schools for them to find what to cascade to full-service schools. There is also a need for changing regulations governing the role of teachers in special schools as regards their new itinerant duties or responsibilities. Specialists want status or recognition that is tied to increased remuneration. Discussion: There seems to be a need for massive teacher development (re-skilling, reorientation and re-sensitization). There are persuading arguments for a government led drive to recapitalize special schools – cognizant of their proposed role as resource centers for full-service schools. The role of teachers in special schools should allow for duties in full-service schools. Implications for Practitioners: The collective picture of arguments put forward in the discussion is that ultimately, every school should have a strong team of teachers who see to the needs of their whole student population. External help should kick-start internal capacity for daily program continuity to be guaranteed.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n14p711

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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